A thousand years ago, Saint Romuald founded the Sacred Hermitage and Monastery of Camaldoli in the forest a thousand meters above the sea level in Tuscany, Italy. The resources provided by both exotic and regional trees have been a support for the daily life, and as a protection to the monastery. The beauty of the mutualism between the monks and the trees is well demonstrated in this forest.
Portugal is the leading country of cork exportation in the world. From cork oak forests to manufacturing factories, every step is strictly legislated for protecting precious tree species. Apart from producing wine stoppers, cork bark is also used to develop eco-fashion and various items, including accessories, furniture, even clothes.
Changbai Mountain, located in the northeast of China, has abundant natural resources. Long ago, the forest industry was a rather prosperous industry. However, due to forest protection policy, nowadays logging has strict limitations. We were lucky to be there at the end of logging season observing the whole process of logging, classifying and storing.
The Qadisha valley, which also known as the Holy valley, is one of the earliest Christian monastic settlements in the world. Its monasteries, many of which an age of centuries, stand in subtle positions in the deep gorge. Nearby, the “Cedars of God” is one of the oldest cedar forests in Lebanon. The cedars here were once exported for many usages and now is a protected species. The sites are now co-listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bruce Greco, Director of Outreach Ecological Restoration Institute, brings IWCS to the research site in Coconino National Forest, AZ, USA, and talks about how natural fire plays an important role in conserving and maintaining the sustainability of ponderosa pine forests.
The region surrounding the Moshi Town, just at the bottom of the great Mount Kilimanjaro, is known for its forest resources and lively communities. Wood-related industries such as wooden box beekeeping and banana brewing prosper in this area. To help advance the development of the beekeeping business, the government, academia and local business owners have worked together to improve the business by modifying the traditional wooden bee boxes. On the other hand, many banana beer brewers have kept the traditional way of brewing with wooden barrels. Despite their different paths, people involved in these two sectors have worked to maintain the tradition and the culture related to wood utilization in the country.
The Usambara Mountain is part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, which stretches from Kenya to Tanzania. The mountain range in North-East Tanzania extends approximately 110 km long and 64 km in width. Although the altitude is not as high as Kilimanjaro, the Usambaras are recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.
The Usambaras are commonly spilt into two parts, the West Usambara and the East Usambara. Since the East Usambara is close to the coast and receives more rainfall, the geographic feature makes it abundant in plant species.
We visited Magamba Nature Reserve, which is in the West Usambara, to see different tree species in the natural forest and how local people utilize wood in their daily life.
Latvia does not have any mountains, but yet is covered by forests for about 60% of land. In Gauja National Park, people can operate their own land and run the business in relation to nature. The Archaeological Museum where the buried houses of 9th -10th Century were revealed represents the life of then, including tools, weapons and daily objects, up to medieval time. While in Latvia, one thing you cannot miss out is that refresh your energy in a traditional Latvian Bath house which usually lies on the imaginary ley line full of spiritual power. Having a land mostly covered with forest urges people to learn to respect the nature, and the Educational programme is committing to this very concept and brings it to the global level.
Located in the north-east of Italy, Trento is the capital of the autonomous province Trentino. Back in the 16th century, it was the location of the Council of Trent, an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church.
Stelvio National Park, near the historical city of Trento, with an area of 400,000 hectares, is the largest national park in Italy. Founded in 1935, the park is a reserve of several protected forests. A couple of traditional farm houses “maso” and log-cutting sawmills can be found in the realm of park. One of the mills has even been turned into a museum called Ruatti mill, which is open to the public for demonstrating the traditional way of utilizing water power for grinding the grains.
Kuala Lumpar is the federal capital city of Malaysia and located in Peninsular Malaysia. The city covers an area of 243 square kilometres (94 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1.6 million. It is the cultural, financial and economic center of Malaysia.
We visited Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman, a preserved traditional Malay house, and an exhibition on wooden arches in the National Museum of Malaysia. In addition to these, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), a governmental organization in forest management and sustainable development is also one of the remarkable places we have visited within downtown Kuala Lumpur.
Erdaobaihe town is located in the south of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, the foot of Changbai Mountain. The town is rich in its natural resources and has 94% of forest coverage and 190,000 hectares area of forest.
Because of its average altitude of 800 meters, the freezing weather is suitable for growing pines and birches. Here in Erdaobaihe town, there are 120 different species of trees and 30 types of precious trees.
Erdaobaihe town is one of the most important lumber yards in China. Therefore, 300,000 cubic meters of lumbers are produced at Erdaobaihe town every year.
Changbai Mountain has rich natural resources with 190,000 hectares of nature reserve. It is also an ecological tourist attraction, including virgin forests, lakes, waterfall, hot springs, and valleys…etc.
The north scenic spot of Changbai Mountain contains the largest number of attractions among three slopes, including Small Sky Pond, Changbai Waterfall, Underground Forest and the Heaven Lake. During wintertime, the high altitude of Changbai Mountain causes the frozen surface of the lake and pool and it creates a beautiful landscape.
Apart from the natural sceneries, Changbai Mountain is also the origin of ethnic minorities. According to ancient tales, Manchu people originated at this “sacred mountain.”
The Nannuoshan Tea Forest represents the tea culture of the Hani people, a minority ethnic group in Xishuanbanna. In addition, the biodiversity is so rich because of the elevation and climate. Forests located at an altitude between 1,500 to 1,600 meters are generally called monsoon evergreen broad-leave forests and forests above an altitude of 1,600 meters are called mid-montane humid evergreen broad-leave forests. Nannoushan is located at an altitude of 1,600 meters at the border of two climate zones, which explains why both tree species can be found in Nannoushan. High altitude areas in this region are also called High Altitude Wetlands because at higher altitudes, the air temperature drops, water vapor condenses, air humidifies and rainfall is more frequent. South Yunnan is located in a tropical mountainous area. The high elevation contributes to the vivid climate. South Yunnan is located in a high altitude area ranging from 67 to 3,000 meters, up to 4,000 meters above sea level. The mountain is located in a low altitude area which accounts for various climates and a rich biodiversity.The local economy exists symbiotically with the local ecology. The Dai people live in a low altitude region (the basin) and the Hani people live in the mountains. The local biodiversity is affected by the climate and living conditions of the respective groups. Both tea and bamboo cultures can be found in Nannuoshan. The blending of the two cultures is common in Yunnan.